Fairness and the Willingness to Accept Plea Bargain Offers

22 Pages Posted: 6 May 2009 Last revised: 7 Feb 2012

Avishalom Tor

Notre Dame Law School; University of Haifa - Faculty of Law

Oren Gazal-Ayal

University of Haifa - Faculty of Law

Stephen M. Garcia

University of Michigan

Date Written: April 2, 2009

Abstract

In contrast with the common assumption in the plea bargaining literature, we show fairness-related concerns systematically impact defendants' preferences and judgments. In the domain of preference, innocents are less willing to accept plea offers (WTAP) than guilty defendants and all defendants reject otherwise attractive offers that appear comparatively unfair. We also show that defendants who are uncertain of their culpability exhibit egocentrically biased judgments and reject plea offers as if they were innocent. The article concludes by briefly discussing the normative implications of these findings.

Keywords: Fairness, Decision Making, Judgment, Experimental, Behavioral, self-serving bias, risk, prospect theory, law, criminal procedure, plea bargaining

JEL Classification: D89, D99, K14, K41, K42

Suggested Citation

Tor, Avishalom and Gazal-Ayal, Oren and Garcia, Stephen M., Fairness and the Willingness to Accept Plea Bargain Offers (April 2, 2009). Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, Vol. 7, No. 1, pp. 97-116, March 2010; CELS 2009 4th Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1398128

Avishalom Tor (Contact Author)

Notre Dame Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 780
Notre Dame, IN 46556-0780
United States

University of Haifa - Faculty of Law ( email )

Mount Carmel
Haifa, IN IN 31905
Israel

Oren Gazal-Ayal

University of Haifa - Faculty of Law ( email )

Mount Carmel
Haifa, 31905
Israel

HOME PAGE: http://weblaw.haifa.ac.il/en/Faculty/GazalAyal/Pages/default.aspx

Stephen M. Garcia

University of Michigan ( email )

741 Dennison Hall
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States
734-615-2561 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.sitemaker.umich.edu/stephen.garcia

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